Sunday, October 8, 2017

Nota Bene: This is Fiction

It’s the 1980’s and we have a president with no political experience.  (Nota Bene: 1980) Winter Warning by Jerome Charyn is about a cop who becomes president.  The president’s advisors and even other world leaders are expecting him to fail.  There’s a lottery betting on his demise.  And I don’t mean his resigning from the presidency; I mean his being assassinated.  (Again, nota bene: this is 1980’s.)

I don’t know if there is a lottery in place for how long our current president, Donald Trump, will last, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there were.  But that’s the end of the similarities between Isaac Sidel and Donald Trump,i.e., lack of experience and not expecting him to succeed.  Charyn’s Sidel is a president with a glock in his pants.  He was a cop, is still a cop, and always will be a cop, because he thinks like one.  It’s a good thing, too.  He can’t trust anyone and he has to be alert to deflect physical danger besides the dirty machinations of political maneuvering.

The story begins with the president being under surveillance.  He is shuffled into rooms that have more bugs than a greasy spoon on a truck route.  His chief of staff, Ramona Dazzle hates him and reigns from a palatial suite in the white house.  Poor Sidel finds a room once relegated as a beauty parlor--his only safe refuge. 

Surprisingly, the people he can rely on are a former Israeli official and a Russian tattoo artist, who is a Russian mobster.  He has two close friends: his helicopter pilot and a naval officer.   Everything he does and says is misconstrued. 

The characters are my favorite part of this book.  I love the way the author draws them.  They’re perfect for their role.  If this story is made into a movie, the makeup people will be in demand.  What characters!

I love Charyn’s innovative style.  This is my first Isaac Sidel novel.  Evidently, this book is the conclusion of the Isaac Sidel series. The other Isaac Sidel novels are when he was a New York cop.  I enjoyed Winter Warning so much, that I definitely am going to look up the rest of the series. 
I received this book for free to write a review.  But my opinion is that this is an enjoyable read.  I am happy I received it.

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Jerome Charyn's Bio:

Jerome Charyn published his first novel in 1964. He's the author of Johnny One-Eye, The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, I Am Abraham, and dozens of other acclaimed novels as well as nonfiction works. His short stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Paris Review, American Scholar, Epoch, and Ellery Queen. Charyn's popular crime novels featuring homicide detective Isaac Sidel inspired a new animated drama series: Hard Apple debuts on the small screen in 2017, helmed by Hollywood insider James Gray (The Immigrants) and illustrated by famed artists Asaf and Tomer Hanuka. Charyn lives in Greenwich Village, New York.
Winter Warning Book Summary:
Reflecting our own world like a volatile funhouse mirror, Winter Warning lures us back to the 1980s, an era that could have been ripped right out of our most recent political upheaval. Isaac Sidel should have been vice president, banished to some far corner of the West Wing, but the president-elect has been forced to resign or face indictment for his crooked land deals—and Sidel becomes the accidental president. He’s a maverick, a crusader with a Glock in his belt, who defies both the Republicans and the Democrats. He seems haunted by Lincoln’s ghost, and the presidential palace becomes his own “great white jail,” as it did for Harry Truman.

There’s never been another president quite like Isaac Sidel, New York’s former police commissioner and mayor. There’s a secret lottery created by some bankers in Basel to determine the exact date of Sidel’s death. And Sidel has to outrun this lottery in order to save himself. His greatest allies are not the Secret Service or the DNC, but a former Israeli prime minister who was a explosives operative during the British occupation of Palestine . . . as well as a mysterious billionaire who belongs to a brotherhood of killers and counterfeiters. His only companions in the capital are the captain of his helicopter fleet and a sexy naval intelligence officer who realizes that something has gone amuck at Camp David, when a band of mercenaries arrive with their sights trained on Sidel.

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1 comment:

The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson said...

In 1980 or 2017, a great review is a great review. Thanks for your fascinating take. I am Jerome Charyn's partner-in-crime. Just right me and I will send you some of the other great Isaac Sidel novels - they each stand by themselves and the more you read, the more you love. Lenore (

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